PLOT: 4.5/5 CHARACTERS: 4/5 WRITING: 4.5/5 CLIMAX: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 4.5/5
“Sometimes you can’t simultaneously be smart, brave, and careful. Sometimes you need to choose one.”
– Riley Sager, Survive the Night
Ever since I read Riley Sager’s Home Before Dark last year, I’ve been meaning to pick up other books written by him (Lock Every Door, Final Girls, and The Last Time I Lied). Imagine my excitement when I realized that the author is back again with yet another creepy thriller. And this time, it is about a serial killer.
Even though the book was released months ago, I could only pick it up last week. But gosh! The enthusiasm and excitement I experienced were something. It didn’t come as a surprise when the book kept me hooked for a good eight hours.
Read on to know more about Riley Sager’s Survive the Night and my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
The language of the book is simple enough to be picked up by beginners. However, the references to the popular culture of 1990s America, particularly the American movies and songs, might prove to be a little cumbersome for beginners. If one can get around this small obstacle, the book is a simple enough read for beginners.
Both the cover and the blurb do a great job of grabbing the attention of the prospective reader. The imagery surely promises a thrilling adventure, albeit a sinister and diabolical one. But yes, overall, both the cover and the blurb do their job quite well.
The story as it goes
A few months ago, Charlie’s best friend was murdered. Killed by someone who has been notoriously dubbed as The Campus Killer, for having killed three students in the short span of a year.
Because of the guilt and grief that Charlies still feels over her role in the turn of events, she decides to leave it all behind – her degree, the campus, her friends.
Eager to leave as soon as possible, Charlie jumps when an opportunity presents itself in the form of this one guy, Josh Baxter. A stranger whom she meets by chance and who, just like her, is also leaving the university in the middle of the term.
But as Charlies begins her night-long ride with him, driving across hundreds of miles, and across vast desolate stretches of countryside, her alarm bells start ringing.
As she finds more and more discrepancies in Josh’s story, Charlie realizes the horror that she might be in.
Will Charlie survive the night?
How good are the characters?
While Charlie certainly comes across as naïve and stupid, she does possess a strange mind and a certain charm. Within a minute, she can go from being impressively brave to foolishly anxious.
Josh, with his standoffish charm and quiet demeanor, remains much of an enigma. His story seeped in well-shrouded mystery.
The other characters also create quite an impact. Marge leaves a lasting impression, and so does Maddy. While not a character in the traditional sense, Maddy creates a fascination by remaining gregarious yet elusive.
What did I love?
Well, for starters, the very idea of the story is quite appealing. And also the fact that the entire book unfolds in a matter of a single night. Then it is the pace itself. Fast and racy. The story is generously strewn with twists and turns brought out at frequent intervals.
Almost three-fourths of the book is well-written, with the tension between Charlie and Josh leaving the reader with a sense of foreboding and dread. I literally had to calm my nerves down because the tension, at times, became too much to bear.
I also loved the subtle 1990s vibe that permeates the entire story.
What do I want to see?
Surely, a movie made on this one. The tensity and anxiety spanning the entire journey would make for good screen time.
What could have been better?
The climax. That was one major disappointment. Something that I didn’t see coming and would rather have any other way except this one.
It all comes down to entertainment
There is loads of it. The fact that the book didn’t let me do anything else till I got to the end of it speaks a lot. Just like any other Riley Sager book, it just kept me going, kept me hooked right till the end. Yes, the end was disappointing, but overall the book was worth every second I spent reading it.
In the end
In the end, Survive the Night is one hell of a spooky entertainer. Despite its flawy ending, the book narrates a chilly and dreadful tale of what conspires between two strangers on a long drive when one of them is a suspected serial killer.
Pick the book if
- You are looking for a chilly spooky edge-of-the-seat thriller.
- You are a fan of Riley Sager’s writing.
- You want to read a popular thriller of 2021 (more than 44,000 ratings on Goodreads).
Skip the book if
- You don’t like mediocre endings.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Survive the Night using the link below.
Was looking for a good thriller book, and came across this blog, thank you for such an extensive explanation.